Airbus has announced that it will stop production of the A380 super jumbo aircraft in 2021.
According to the company, the decision is due to a shortfall in customer orders. A key factor was the move by Emirates to reduce an existing order for 53 aircraft to just 14.
The airline will instead look to take delivery of 70 smaller aircraft, including the A330 and A350.
It is reported that the A380, which can carry up to 800 passengers (dependent on seating configuration), must be full to off-set operating costs. Smaller aircraft, such as the A350, can operate at a profit with about 80% capacity.
Various components for the A380, including wings and undercarriage assemblies, are developed and/or produced in the UK. The wings are assembled at the Airbus plant in Broughton, Wales. The wings of the super jumbo use an outer skin, outer flaps, spoilers and ailerons made from CFRP (wing inners are fabricated using aluminium alloys). The wing's leading edge is produced using thermoplastics.
Airbus is hopeful that employees dedicated to building the A380 wings can be successfully moved to assembly for other aircraft types, also produced at the plant. Broughton delivers approximately 1,000 wing units per year.
Broughton also delivers wing assemblies for the new A350. This total structure of this model is approximately 50% composite materials, including major sections of the wings and fuselage.